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Diachronic change and pronoun status: Italian dative 'loro’

Egerland, Verner LU (2005) In Linguistics 43(6). p.1105-1130
Abstract
From a historical perspective, personal pronouns in Romance languages display a tendency to undergo changes in syntactic status in a particular order, namely; strong > weak > clitic. This paper discusses the possible reasons behind the final step of this sequence of development, i.e. that from a weak form to clitic status. It will be argued that the external trigger for this kind of diachronic change has to be a morphophonological one; if a weak pronoun is morphophonologically reduced over time, language learners may at some point come to analyse the pronoun as a clitic. A number of syntactic properties are expected to change as a consequence of the switch from weak form to clitic. This view gives support to Cardinaletti &... (More)
From a historical perspective, personal pronouns in Romance languages display a tendency to undergo changes in syntactic status in a particular order, namely; strong > weak > clitic. This paper discusses the possible reasons behind the final step of this sequence of development, i.e. that from a weak form to clitic status. It will be argued that the external trigger for this kind of diachronic change has to be a morphophonological one; if a weak pronoun is morphophonologically reduced over time, language learners may at some point come to analyse the pronoun as a clitic. A number of syntactic properties are expected to change as a consequence of the switch from weak form to clitic. This view gives support to Cardinaletti & Starke’s (1999) approach which argues for a principled link between the morphophonological make-up of pronouns and their syntactic status.

Furthermore, it is shown that the Italian dative pronoun loro ‘to-them’ during the 13th and 14th centuries underwent changes that corroborate the above hypothesis in an interesting way. Originally, loro was a weak pronoun but in some central Italian varieties, above all in the town of Siena, a reduced form lo’ emerged, which had clitic properties. Arguably, the phonological change preceded the syntactic one. For a period, both loro and lo’ are attested in rather free distribution. Later on however, the Sienese grammar makes a clear distinction between them, analysing lo’ as a dative clitic and loro as a strong pronoun. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
syntactic change, weak pronouns, Italian, clitic pronouns
in
Linguistics
volume
43
issue
6
pages
1105 - 1130
publisher
Mouton de Gruyter
external identifiers
  • wos:000234646600002
ISSN
1613-396X
DOI
10.1515/ling.2005.43.6.1105
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
53601639-6e28-4515-ad5f-f0e6215f63aa (old id 157891)
date added to LUP
2007-07-27 12:55:00
date last changed
2017-03-22 11:59:29
@article{53601639-6e28-4515-ad5f-f0e6215f63aa,
  abstract     = {From a historical perspective, personal pronouns in Romance languages display a tendency to undergo changes in syntactic status in a particular order, namely; strong &gt; weak &gt; clitic. This paper discusses the possible reasons behind the final step of this sequence of development, i.e. that from a weak form to clitic status. It will be argued that the external trigger for this kind of diachronic change has to be a morphophonological one; if a weak pronoun is morphophonologically reduced over time, language learners may at some point come to analyse the pronoun as a clitic. A number of syntactic properties are expected to change as a consequence of the switch from weak form to clitic. This view gives support to Cardinaletti &amp; Starke’s (1999) approach which argues for a principled link between the morphophonological make-up of pronouns and their syntactic status.<br/><br>
	Furthermore, it is shown that the Italian dative pronoun loro ‘to-them’ during the 13th and 14th centuries underwent changes that corroborate the above hypothesis in an interesting way. Originally, loro was a weak pronoun but in some central Italian varieties, above all in the town of Siena, a reduced form lo’ emerged, which had clitic properties. Arguably, the phonological change preceded the syntactic one. For a period, both loro and lo’ are attested in rather free distribution. Later on however, the Sienese grammar makes a clear distinction between them, analysing lo’ as a dative clitic and loro as a strong pronoun.},
  author       = {Egerland, Verner},
  issn         = {1613-396X},
  keyword      = {syntactic change,weak pronouns,Italian,clitic pronouns},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {1105--1130},
  publisher    = {Mouton de Gruyter},
  series       = {Linguistics},
  title        = {Diachronic change and pronoun status: Italian dative 'loro’},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/ling.2005.43.6.1105},
  volume       = {43},
  year         = {2005},
}